School was not the high point of my life. Finding somebody who had the veracity to inspire me was quite something, and one man managed to turn what I considered an incredibly dry subject into something that came alive. It was a guy called Mr Brindle who was a history teacher at Sidcot school in the early 70s. He taught me history for my GCSEs, or O-levels as they were called then, when I was 15 or 16.
For the first time, I felt some sort of inspiration in the classroom. He framed history within stories that seemed real to me, and that somehow got my imagination going. History at one time was very dull, but Mr Brindle made it easily the high point of my week.
He was rather an unprepossessing character – actually, no, that’s not fair. He was tall, with gingerish hair, he had glasses. You didn’t see him come down the corridor and think that’s a person who is going to inspire me. No, he did that with his words.
What he really taught me is what an inspiring teacher can do, and what inspiration can do for a young person. I see that in young children now.
To provide that inspiration is what one tries to do. The whole concept of inspiration is something I’ve carried throughout my career. In so many ways, it’s the most important thing I learned at school. If you inspire people they tend to come along with you, and in terms of telling stories and turning them into movies and all the rest of it, they have to be inspirational. So if you hit that mark, you’re going to find that audience, and that’s the magic thing.
And because he inspired me so, I wasn’t such a pain in the arse to him as I was to other people. It was such big thing to feel inspired as young person for the first time in a classroom.
It was quite a creative school, and I probably didn’t quite appreciate that at the time, and realise how fortunate I was to enjoy that environment. He was just somebody who I remember about that particular place and phase in my life. I guess that when one thinks about education, you think of those sorts of people.
One of the things we’re trying to do with education at the London Screen Academy is to find those people who can’t imagine that what we’re going to teach them is something that they could ever be part of. I quickly realised the importance of finding inspiring people to bring on that journey.
And he was that for me. Given that I’ve been involved in a number of historical films, he probably wouldn’t thank me for it in the classroom.
He was the most important teacher I’ve ever had.
Born: 1957, Queenstown, New Zealand
Education: Sidcot School, North Somerset
Career: Tim Bevan CBE is a British film producer, the co-chairman of the production company Working Title Films. With Eric Fellner he’s produced some of the most iconic British films including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Billy Elliot, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Love Actually, The Theory of Everything and Darkest Hour.